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Xcel Discounted Charging Program Report

eqskels

Member
Nov 9, 2020
8
5
Minnesota
Hi all, reporting my experience with Xcel Energy's EV Accelerate at Home Program - EV Accelerate at Home

Details:
- $17/mo to rent a Chargepoint or JuiceBox
- free install by electrician ($200 charge to remove)
- $0.03 / kWH when charging between 12am-6am, 7d/wk
- $0.19-22 / kWH all other times

Pros:
- P0 not pay $500 immediately for a Tesla wall charger, nor installation
- P1 somewhat cheaper charging
- P2 support EV adoption

Cons:
- C0 need to ensure existing 50A breaker in garage isn't GFCI (GFCI is built into wall charger)
- C1 if preconditioning outside of the 12-6 window, you will either pay the penalty 22cent rate or force your car to use its battery to precondition
- C3 have to unlock charging port with app or from inside car


Questions:
- how much wear on the battery is it to precondition on its own? is it worth saving $30-40 a month? or will it result in a much more expensive battery replacement sooner than expected?

My comments:
TBH idc about the savings all that much. Shopping less at Whole Foods and eating out less is more impactful. But I think programs like this will be important for mass consumption. C3 is really annoying so I don't recommend if that would be a big bother.
 

seniorcitizen

Member
Oct 9, 2020
217
128
Maple Grove
I am in MN as well but my utility is Wright Hennepin.
Electric Vehicles | Wright-Hennepin

Xcel offering seems good to me. 0.03 cents is hard to beat.
It is good that at least it offers an ability to charge during the daytime. In my case we can only charge between 11 am to 7 pm.
I had to buy a charger for $650 and electrician did the wiring and install for $1000.

I have been preconditioning my car during day time when charging is not available. I have no concerns about battery wear and tear.
I plugin the car at night and it is fully charged. I don't drive much due to Covid. I only charged my car once but it was because I wanted to try a Tesla super charger.
 

Rocky_H

Well-Known Member
Feb 19, 2015
7,070
8,683
Boise, ID
C0 need to ensure existing 50A breaker in garage isn't GFCI (GFCI is built into wall charger)
I'm not sure why you list that as a con. First, you're talking about this encouraging more of the public to use it, and most people wouldn't even have a 50A breaker already existing there. Second, most breakers are generally not GFCI. Third, when choosing a breaker, non-GFCI is cheaper, so why is that considered a negative?

C1 if preconditioning outside of the 12-6 window, you will either pay the penalty 22cent rate or force your car to use its battery to precondition

Questions:
- how much wear on the battery is it to precondition on its own? is it worth saving $30-40 a month? or will it result in a much more expensive battery replacement sooner than expected?
So, you don't have to use preconditioning. That's just for people's warm fuzzy comfort feeling of getting in a nice cozy warm car, but that's going to waste energy instead of the car just running higher energy consumption when they start driving.
C3 have to unlock charging port with app or from inside car
Apparently a lot of people don't know that Tesla has been building their charge ports for the last several years where you can just press it with your finger and it opens. So no, you would not need to use an app or the touch screen in the car.
 

eqskels

Member
Nov 9, 2020
8
5
Minnesota
C0 - fair points - I listed it as a negative bc like many, I had a 14-50 installed and used the mobile charger with a 14-50 adapter. The electrician wanted to bill me extra for his time swapping out the GCFI, but I managed to get his boss to waive the fee and just take my GFCI. I will revise this one to : "Upfront cost of installing a 240v outlet in garage."

C1 - in cold weather, especially sub-zero, Tesla specifically recommends preconditioning the battery warm up, nvm the cabin, so we either use the batterys own power or pull from the outlet at a higher rate. I will keep this one. Tesla also recommends always leaving the car plugged in regardless, although I haven't seen the Chargepoint report any power draw outside of charging or preconditioning.

C2 - you cannot unlock the port by touching it when there is a non-Tesla charger plugged into it unless I am missing something in the manual. What the manual does state is that the plug can be unlocked by unlocking the car, so there's that.
 

threeputts

Member
Dec 14, 2020
141
193
Minnesota
The penalty rate only applies from 3-8pm weekdays. Outside of that and the midnight-6am window, the rate is basically the same as standard electric rates.

Last time I ran the numbers it was worthwhile if you drive more than about 10800 miles a year on the electricity from the 12am-6am charge window (assuming you never charge during the "penalty" hours).
 

Rocky_H

Well-Known Member
Feb 19, 2015
7,070
8,683
Boise, ID
C1 - in cold weather, especially sub-zero, Tesla specifically recommends preconditioning the battery warm up, nvm the cabin, so we either use the batterys own power or pull from the outlet at a higher rate. I will keep this one. Tesla also recommends always leaving the car plugged in regardless, although I haven't seen the Chargepoint report any power draw outside of charging or preconditioning.
Go ahead and read what that recommendation is about. It is not about trying to protect the battery or help it or prevent damage. That has only two purposes:
1. Your own comfort--as I mentioned, this is if you just like a warm car to get into.
2. What the manual is talking about says "to extend range". It is saying that if you have a long drive, and you want to extend how far the car can go at one time AFTER it has been unplugged, then it does make sense to get some of that heat into the car from the wall before you leave, rather than having really high use once you start driving, which would cut down your total range some.
It's not harming the battery at all to not precondition. That's just if you need to try to get the most distance you can after unplugging.

The bit about keeping the car plugged in all the time was two-fold. Tesla was really having to shoulder the load of marketing and informing the public about electric vehicles and dispelling a lot of weird myths that had spread about them.
1. Practicality of having enough range every day. There's still a lot of this thinking from people remembering old NiCad batteries, where you were supposed to run them down really low before recharging to prevent them from developing "battery memory". That has never been true about lithium ion batteries, so that is very outdated, but a lot of people don't know that and still think it about laptops and phones and EVs, even though it's not applicable. So, to prevent these situations of people running their cars low on purpose and then forgetting to plug in or suddenly finding out they have an extra 50 or 80 miles of driving they weren't prepared for and then throwing a fit about how this "impractical" or "unusable" EV did this to them...Tesla is trying to prevent that by encouraging people to develop the habit of plugging in as often as they want, so they don't get burned from lack of range.

2. Leaving it plugged in is not dangerous. This was another weird, outdated wives tale about batteries. Some really old equipment did not have good charging controls, and could continue to try to force charge into batteries even after they were full, causing them to burst or explode or catch fire. So I have literally seen posts on both Tesla forums with people scared, wondering how quickly they had to run out to unplug their Teslas before they overcharged and caught fire. *sigh* So this stuff in the manual telling people specifically that they can leave it plugged in as long as they want or as often as they want is to reassure people that it's not dangerous to leave it that way.

C2 - you cannot unlock the port by touching it when there is a non-Tesla charger plugged into it unless I am missing something in the manual.
I thought you were talking about popping open the port door to plug in.
To unplug, still doesn't require the screen. With the J1772 handles, they have that release latch button on top. When you press that while it is plugged in, it sends an interrupt signal to the car that stops the charging, AND unlocks the port latch. So to get it out, keep holding that release button, grab the adapter with your other hand, and pull them both out together. It's sounds awkward described in words, so here's a video showing how it's done:
 

eqskels

Member
Nov 9, 2020
8
5
Minnesota
threeputts - Yes, you're right, thank you

rocky - thank you for pointing out the perception issues, I hadn't considered those. From the cold weather tips:
"A blue snowflake icon may appear on your touchscreen if your car battery is too cold to access all of its stored energy. When this icon is displayed you may also notice that battery power and regenerative braking are limited.
Once the battery is warmed, the snowflake will disappear. Charging, driving and preconditioning are all ways to warm your battery quicker."

So I interpret this to mean that the battery has an optimal temp at which it will operate, and the energy to get the battery to that temp has to come from somewhere. As threeputts points out this is sorta moot if you precondition in the morning.

So revising:
Assuming a user already has 240v access.
Set scheduled departure with off-peak charging that ends at 6am.

Pros:
- P1 cheaper install of a charging box
- P2 overall 3cents / kWH

Cons:
- C1 Chargepoint scheduling screen is a little clunky and needs some more refined switches
- C2 some friction not being able to use a Tesla manufactured charging box

Overall recommended. Will update once we have a few bill cycles pass so we have some data.
 
Last edited:
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papab

Member
Feb 7, 2021
24
8
colorado
This may only be available in Minn., I didn't check other states, but the link in the 1st post is for Minnesota, and it is not available in CO.
 

neutrino

Member
Mar 2, 2020
77
27
Wenatchee, WA
The economics of Xcel's program is interesting. If you buy the charger outright, you still pay $6.68/month. But what is that for? So that Xcel can get more information about your charging habits, and lower your charging rate at certain times? Should Xcel pay YOU for that, instead of vice versa. Right? Or maybe that's the only way to access 2.8 cents/kWh nighttime rates?
 

threeputts

Member
Dec 14, 2020
141
193
Minnesota
The economics of Xcel's program is interesting. If you buy the charger outright, you still pay $6.68/month. But what is that for? So that Xcel can get more information about your charging habits, and lower your charging rate at certain times? Should Xcel pay YOU for that, instead of vice versa. Right? Or maybe that's the only way to access 2.8 cents/kWh nighttime rates?
Think of it as a $6.68/mo monitoring fee and a $9.90/mo charger rental fee. You have to pay the first fee to be in the program. For the charger you can either fork over $770 now or pay the monthly rental fee. I'd definitely rent.
 

ShamDeluxe

Member
Feb 16, 2021
6
3
Colorado
Help me out here, folks. I have attached the electricity part of my energy bill. What is my rate? Is it around 9 cents kWh?
 

Attachments

  • XcelBill.PNG
    XcelBill.PNG
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ShamDeluxe

Member
Feb 16, 2021
6
3
Colorado
Add up all the rate numbers and that's your rate.

Totaled the numbers and I'm at $0.101500/ kWh (10 cents). According to the Xcel website the General Residential Pricing is 9 cents. Their "Time of Use Pricing" states the off-peak price as 9 cents per kWh. So at this time there is literally no incentive to switch from General Residential Pricing to Time of Use Pricing. In addition, the Time of Use Pricing for On-Peak price is at 15 cents per kWh in the winter and 24 cents per kWh during the summer - which is a huge penalty.

I'm sticking with my flat rate for now.
 

papab

Member
Feb 7, 2021
24
8
colorado
According to the rate book, residential rate is 0.103, off peak RE-TOU is .093 . 10% cheaper, but not a huge cut. The spread widens in the summer though. I think it's about 50% more expensive on the regular rate. When I made the switch last year I compared the plans for what it would cost me & it was a clear winner to go with time-of-use. I think if you have an EV and charge it at home it will be a no brainer unless you use a large amount of AC energy at peak time.
https://www.xcelenergy.com/staticfi...ectric_Summation_Sheet_All_Rates_01.01.21.pdf
 

RPReagan

Member
Mar 31, 2020
11
4
Colorado
I live in Castle Rock and have IREA. We pay $.11/kwh. My electric bill is $120 in winter and $140 summer including charging. I was paying $160/month just for gas alone. Add to that my $40-$60/month house electric bill and I'm saving ~$80/month. Pretty awesome!
 

reddy

Active Member
Jan 26, 2013
1,012
1,601
Amarillo, TX
Just in case any TEXAS Xcel customers look at this thread, the normal pricing in Texas is :
0.098345 / kWh during the summer June through Sept
0.084552 / kwh during winter up to 899 kWh
0.050960 / kwh during winter over 899 kWh
PLUS the 'cost of energy' which last month was about 0.014 / kwh, PLUS all the various taxes.

There is Time of Use pricing available as an option, but if you choose it you are locked in for 12 months.
0.070359 / kwh PLUS
0.151072 / kWh during June - Sept on M-F from 1pm - 7pm (i.e. 0.221431 during these hours) PLUS
'cost of energy'

Xcel in Texas is almost prehistoric on pricing. Prices are relatively low, but NO net metering for solar other than a credit at 'cost of energy' rates and a $20/mo fee to fool with accounting for solar production. So you have to overproduce over 1400 kWh just to cover the $20 accounting cost from Xcel.

I went with Powerwalls with my solar, so now I may be able to dodge the 1p-7pm June - Sept rates entirely, and charge my car at 8.4c (7.0c + 1.4c) for the whole year.
 

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